Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Why Japanese people don't go to the beach in September

"When I questioned the local authorities in charge of Tokyo's best sea resort, Isshiki Beach at Hayama, ranked by some in the world's top 100 a spokeswoman told me it was closed because "it's not hot and it's not summer" - even though the thermometer that day was registering 28C and everyone around me was sweating in the sun." So says the BBC.

This is a story about conformism in Japan. To some extent, I am inclined to take these things with a pinch of salt. There is a market in the West for stories about Japanese people adhering to a series of stereotypes involving conformism, manga, salarymen, tiny hotel rooms, manga, very nicely presented food and so on, and very little market for stories about jovial Japanese people who are a bit messy, interrupt and eat hamburgers while reading Russian literature. So we should expect more of the former than the latter.

What I did find interesting, however, was the idea, not 'for everything, there is a season' but rather, 'for every season, there is a thing'. In particular, I liked the idea that autumn is for reading, "because the shorter days make one more reflective than during the brassier days of summer". In Britain, reading is perhaps mostly for the summer, for enjoyment on holiday - except for ghost stories, which are for Christmas. 

No comments:

Post a Comment